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They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 6:5)

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” (Acts 6:8)

What fills up your being? The book of Acts gives us a compelling description of Stephen. I long to be characterized as he was.

Consider what these qualities would mean in a person’s life:

Full of faith – Faith in God is not wishful thinking or hoping that all our personal desires will be fulfilled. Faith believes that God created us, loved us, redeemed us and is in the process of transforming us.

Full of the Holy Spirit –A life full of the Spirit is in tune with God’s desires and purposes and follows His leading rather than demanding her own way or seeking her own wants or needs.

Full of God’s grace –Patient and generous, she gives herself in service to others without expecting anything in return.

Full of God’s power –Able to withstand the attacks of Satan and the world, her foundation cannot be shaken because it is rooted in Jesus Christ our Rock and our Redeemer.

How do you define faith? What do you most want to be full of and why?

Father we want to be full of You. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit. Fill us with faith. Fill us with Your grace. Fill us with Your power. Amen

Are you walking a Holy Spirit Filled life?

by Suzanne Benner
Used by Permission

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

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You Can Know the Spirit’s Fullness

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Be filled…with the Holy Spirit and controlled by HimEphesians 5:18

An enthusiastic, attractive couple traveled from their home in Chicago to Arrowhead Springs to share with me an idea about which they were very excited.

We heard one of your filmed lectures on ‘How to Be Filled With the Holy Spirit.
Our lives have been dramatically changed as a result of what you shared
,” they said. “We have come all this way to encourage you to go on nationwide television and tell Christians how they can know the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit and experience His revolutionary impact in and through their lives.”

I am humbly grateful to God for the privilege of sharing these great truths concerning the Holy Spirit with tens of millions of people throughout the world, often with the same dramatic results experienced by this remarkable couple.

The disciples were with Jesus for more than three years. They heard Him teach as no man had ever taught. They saw Him perform miracles such as no man had ever performed – raising the dead, restoring sight to the blind and cleansing lepers. Though they were exposed to the most godly life ever lived on earth, during Jesus’ time of crisis, Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him and all the others deserted Him.

Jesus knew His disciples were fruitless, quarreling, ambitious, self-centered men, so – on the eve of His crucifixion – He told them,

It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I go, I will send Him to you…He will guide you into all the truth…He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you” (John 16:7,13,14 ).

Bible ReadingGalatians 5:5, 16-18, 22, 23, 25

Today’s Action Point:
Today I will receive by faith the power of the Holy Spirit in order to live a supernatural life and be a supernatural witness. I will continue to study the scriptural reference and various books concerning the Holy Spirit, so that I will better understand His role in my life.

By Dr. Bill Bright
Used  by Permission


Are you ready to ask the Holy Spirit to direct your life? Why not pray this simple prayer right now and by faith invite God to fill you with His Spirit:

Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against you by directing my own life. I thank you that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If so, bow in prayer and trust God to fill you with the Holy Spirit right now.

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

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The Call of a Loving Father

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In 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 we read some of the most intimate, caring, and loving aspects of our relationship with God our Father. Here, our Father calls us out of darkness to come into His light; He calls us out of uncleanness to come into His purity; He calls us out of the yoke of bondage to come into His rest; He calls us out of lawlessness to come into His righteousness; He calls us out of idolatry to come into His presence; He calls us out of Satan’s domain to come into union with His Son.

When we respond to His call upon our lives we remove our hands from all that would defile and our feet from all that would mislead. Instead, we touch mercy and grace, we seek all that is pure and holy, and we follow all that is true and good.

Hear the call of your loving Father:

I will dwell in you — the Father abides in you.
I will walk with you — the Father goes with you.
I will be your God — the Father provides for you.
You shall be mine — the Father claims you.
I will welcome you — the Father receives you.
I will be a Father to you — the Father nurtures you.
You shall be a son to Me — the Father calls you His own.
You shall be a daughter to Me — the Father calls you His own.

By Roy Lessin
Used by Permission

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What My Dad did Right

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Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God commanded you. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving youDeuteronomy 5:16

During my teen years, I tended to focus on what I thought my dad did wrong. Now that I have raised my own family and have grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I find myself reflecting more and more on what my dad did right, and how his Godly life style has been passed on to the fourth generation. I thank the Lord for my dad!

The following are some of things my dad did right!

  • He raised us to fear God and follow Him.
  • He loved his family and prayed for us.
  • He was faithful to my mother throughout her life.
  • He enjoyed life. He liked to play good-natured jokes on people.
  • He worked very hard to provide for the family. We had a large family and so besides running the dairy farm, he worked at another job to make ends meet.
  • He taught his children how to work hard.
  • He demonstrated hospitality. Even though our family had seven children and lived in a small house, we often had some of his nephews living with us. There was always room for one more.
  • He was very generous and gave a lot of money to the Lord. Near the end of his life, he worked at a thrift store and gave away a lot of furniture to people who couldn’t afford to buy.
  • He provided transportation for seniors who needed to go to the doctor. He also visited the sick, almost right up to the day he went for surgery and died.

There are many more good things I remember about my dad, but today I just want to say:

Thank You Lord, for giving us Godly fathers who do their best to raise their family in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. Lord bless them and encourage them to keep on doing what is right. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission

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A Father’s Prayer

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A Father’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for my children’s salvation. Thank You for choosing them to be children of mine and Yours. Thank You that You have lavished Your riches and Your inheritance on them, although they could do nothing to earn it or deserve it.

I pray for my children’s legs to walk always with You, not racing ahead, not lagging behind, not wandering off, but day-by-day walking with Jesus, so that He is their constant companion. God, take them where You want them to go and keep them from the places they shouldn’t go. Give them strength to continue when they feel weak. Give them courage to keep on walking with You, even when the road ahead looks uncertain and dim. Give them grace to bridge gaps, to leap walls, to span the separations between people and groups.

I pray for my children’s feet, that You would place them where You want them to stand. Plant their feet on the immovable rock of Jesus. Talk to them when storms come or the world’s attractions try to lure them down its path. Whisper in their ears and to their spirits, “Stand firm.”

Through my children’s arms, always do Your work. Strengthen them, hold them up, and direct them to do whatever You want them to do. Make their time valuable for eternity, not just the quick flash that is the span of their days on earth.

I pray for my children’s hands that they will often fold them in prayer. Make them mighty in prayer. Teach them to pray after Your own heart. Enable them to live their lives so that everyone will see Your signature, “This one is the Lord’s.”

Give my children the patience to wait on You, Lord, so that You may renew their spirits and they may soar as on eagle’s wings.

By Your enabling power, make my children’s will as strong as iron for clinging to what is good and resisting evil. Cause them to be unyielding in following righteousness and rejecting anything not pure, holy, and completely from You. Make their wills toward You as pliable as spun silk when You convict them of sin or following their own ways. Give them tender hearts and teachable spirits for You, God.

I pray for my children’s character, that You will make it strong and godly. Use godly men and women to mold, shape, and weave their character, beliefs, and views of You as You want to make them.

Enable by Your grace that their conscience will be clear. I pray they will keep a short list of accounts with You and quickly acknowledge sin to You and confess their wrongs. Give them the humility to seek forgiveness from the ones they offend. Enlarge their hearts to grant forgiveness freely, even before it is asked, when they are wronged.

I pray for my children’s heart, that You would guard it. Keep them protected, covered, shielded, and sheltered from all harm that seeks to touch them. Make their hearts soft when they should show compassion, firm when “tough love” is required, and always holy.

By Your power, protect their bodies. Keep them well and safe, and heal them when they are sick or injured. Hold them and comfort them when they are afraid, lonely, sad, or discouraged. Give them the strength and the courage to keep on keepin’ on when they feel they cannot any longer.

I pray for my children’s minds, that regarding the things of Christ they will be full of knowledge and wisdom, and regarding the things of sin they will be ignorant. Give them Your wisdom and discernment to evaluate what they see.

Light my children’s eyes with the light of Christ shining within them. Filter what they will see through holy filters. Protect them and keep them, for the devil masquerades as an angel of light. Give them holy understanding to see past the surface, to see the world from Your perspective, and to respond as You would.

Father, put Your Word in my children’s ears and in their hearts frequently. I pray that they will not listen to unwise counsel or foolish talk and will seek Your wisdom and Your ways all their days.

I pray for my children’s mouths, that words of praise and prayer will be on their lips always. Curb them from speaking rashly or without thought, so that they will bring honor and glory to You. I pray for my children’s countenances, that they will reflect Your glory and the radiance of the hope that is alive within them.

Sanctify their pocketbooks, and teach them to be good stewards of what You give them. Teach them the principles of Your economy, the way to manage and use the things that You loan them. Beyond finances and possessions, make them good stewards of their talents, time, and opportunities You send. Help them to acknowledge that everything is Yours, and because of that, they need not worry or fear loss.

I pray that they will abide in righteousness and live worthy of the One who purchased their lives from destruction and eternal death. Show them that life is in Christ alone, that there is no other source of life, joy, light, peace, comfort, love, or truth that can endure forever, and no other is pure or holy but You.

Father-God, I place all these things in Your hands in the name of the One who is able to do all things, beyond anything we ask or imagine, to whom is all glory, honor, and praise, Amen.

-Charley Gunter, praying for Richmond and Margie Louise

Looking at a picture of your children or grandchildren, or with the indelible memory of them before your mind’s eye, pray for them. Set them apart from head-to-toe for God’s purposes and glory. You might include their future mates in this prayer.

by Charley Gunter
Used by Permission

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Patient People

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Patience is a fruit of the Spirit. It produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, and patience! Have you asked God to give you some fruit? Well, I once did, but…  But what? Did you, [hmm…] grow impatient? He won’t grow impatient with your pleading, and you will receive patience in your praying.

And while you’re praying, ask for understanding. “Patient people have great understanding” (Proverbs 14:29). Could it be your impatience stems from a lack of understanding? Patience always hitches a ride with understanding. “A man of understanding holds his tongue” (Proverbs 11:12). Before you blow up, listen up. Before you strike out, tune in. Before anything else…love is patient!

God is being patient with you (2 Peter 3:9). And if God is being patient with you, can’t you pass on some patience to others? Of course you can! Because before love is anything else—love is patient!

Max Lucado
Used by Permission
From: A Love Worth Giving

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A New Song

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

Valentina was reared believing there was no God.  She was born in Siberia as a member of the Sakha tribe.  One of her closest relatives was even a witch doctor.  But then missionaries came to live in their village.  For years Valentina’s family watched as the missionaries sacrificed much for her own son Nick and ten other village young people.  They asked for nothing in return.  The missionaries’ love for Valentina’s family was genuine.  It spoke truly of God’s love.  Eventually, her entire family received Christ!

Now, Valentina’s home is a model of authentic servanthood, hospitality and grace.  Harshness and bitterness are things of the past.  Today, there’s a new song in Valentina’s heart.  She knows there is a God… and that He loves her!

Dear one, God loves you too.  Share that news today.

by Vonette Bright
Used by Permission

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If God Were to Answer Your Phone Call

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Sometimes life throws curve balls, hands us difficult decisions, and asks us to deal with complicated relationships. We want to respond Biblically and choose wisely. We search the Scriptures. We pray.

But if you’re like me, sometimes you just want to pick up the phone and let God tell you what to do.

I’ve recently concluded that if I could pick up my phone and ask God for advice, He would always give me the same answer.

Whether it’s a major decision, a tough relationship, the need to respond properly to the various curve balls that come, His answer would always be the same.

I believe this, because so much of Scripture is centered around this answer.

Those who were under the law knew what God wanted of them. He spelled it out plainly in several books of the Old Testament.

Those of us who are no longer under the law are told how all those books of rules can be summarized (Romans 13:19):

  • Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. This command summarizes the first five commandments.
  • Love your neighbor as yourself. This command summarizes the last five commandments.

Everything God expected of His people came down to these two commands.

If this is all God really asks of us, couldn’t we apply this desire of His to every area of our lives?

If I had a major decision to make and I called God on the phone, I think His answer would be:

  • Which decision would increase your love for Me and help you grow in your love for others?

If I had a relationship I was struggling with and I asked Him for advice, I think He would say:

  • How can you demonstrate that you love Me with everything in you and that you want to love that person to the max?

If a curve ball came my way and I wanted to respond properly, I think He would tell me:

  • What response would come from your deep love for Me and your desire to love others as yourself?

God lets us make decisions, handle difficult relationships, and respond to curve balls.

But if He were to tell us what to do in each of these cases, it would always be grounded on these two principles.

Love the Lord with all your heart and soul and mind and strength.

Love others as yourself.

I believe this is what He would say.

If God were to answer your phone call.

There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

By Bethany Hayes
Used by Permission

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Encourage One Another

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Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thought

While Paul’s exhortation here is excellent, it is the style of the exhortation we should especially notice. We live in an age where we are constantly pressured to emphasize the novel, new, or improved versions of things. But in our lives as Christians, our knowledge always exceeds our obedience. So more often than we like to think, we need to remind each other of what we are doing right and just simply say, “Hey, you’re doing well; just keep doing what you’re doing!”

Prayer

Faithful Father, thank you for noticing and keeping record of the things I’ve done that are good and pleasing to you. Please help me to keep doing those things that please you, only better, that you may be pleased and glorified. In Jesus name. Amen.

By Phil Ware

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Used by Permission
You can also follow Phil’s daily devotionals on http://www.verseoftheday.com

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We Need God’s Love So We Can Love Others

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“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them” Luke 6:32 (NIV).

If you only love on and off like a light switch, you do not love others like God wants you to love. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?” (Luke 6:32a NIV)

His point is this: All of us can love those who love us back. Becoming a master lover means you learn to love the unlovable — when you love people who don’t love you, when you love people who irritate you, when you love people who stab you in the back or gossip about you.

This may seem like an impossible task, and it is — that’s why we need God’s love in us, so we can then love others: “We know and rely on the love God has for us” (1 John 4:16a NIV).

When you realize how much God loves you — with an extravagant, irresistible, unconditional love — then his love will change your entire focus on life. If we don’t receive God’s love for us, we’ll have a hard time loving other people. I’m talking about loving people who are unlovely, difficult, irritable, and those who are different or demanding.

You can’t do that until you have God’s love coming through you. You need to know God’s love so it can overflow out of your life into others.

Talk It Over: – How can you know God’s love better?
– What does it mean to rely on God’s love?
– What are some ways you can show love to someone you find hard to love? Ask God to help you see that person with his eyes so that you can show him or her God’s love.

By Rick Warren
Used by Permission  www.PurposeDriven.com

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Extending Grace to Others

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Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”  Ephesians 4:29

For the past ten days, I have been contemplating God’s grace to us and how we, in turn, can extend grace to others.

We naturally do just the opposite. We see and tell people how they should change and improve rather than encourage them in what they are doing right. We are impatient with a clerk who is slow in serving us, and we point out faults in our spouse and children. We slander our co-workers and pastors. How can we become gracious — more like Jesus is with us?

In his book Putting a Face on Grace, Richard Blackaby has some tips for us:

•    Speak words intended to build up, not to bring down.
•    Focus on the needs of others, rather than your own.
•    Freely forgive.
•    Swallow you pride and say, “I’m sorry,” and “I was wrong.”
•    Live your life with a goal of “no regrets.”
•    Don’t keep score of what is fair.
•    Don’t condemn or give up on people.
•    Emphasize mercy, not justice.
•    Read 1 Corinthians 13 regularly.

And always keep in mind that it is God’s Spirit within us who will change us into becoming people who extend grace to others.

Father, you continually show grace to your children no matter how many times we mess up.  Thank you so much. We don’t deserve your love. Enable us, through the power of your Holy Spirit, to become people of grace. Amen.

By Katherine Kehler
Used by Permission

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Capture Our Thoughts

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We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5

If I don’t think about everything that makes me anxious, what am I going to think about?” I asked my counselor. I had to laugh at hearing myself ask the question out loud. But for someone like me, who spent a great deal of mental energy worrying about things, I wanted to know what my life would look like if God could really change my mind.

Part of growing in Christ is thinking like Christ. Scripture is full of references to changing the way we think in order to mature in our Christian walk. Yet after accepting Christ as my Savior, I struggled for years with anxiety, fear, and depression.

The answer for me was realizing that I had never really thought about what I thought about. I didn’t know why one small disappointment spun me downward into a pit of depression. Once I prayed and asked God to show me where my thinking was veering off the right path, I began to see how my deep-seeded beliefs about myself were fueling my anxiety.

We all grow up with a certain belief system. Christian or not, our experiences, family of origin, and disposition inform our worldview. If we believe something contrary to God’s Word, like we’re not good enough, then anything that reinforces that lie can send our thoughts into a self-defeating cycle.

Taking the time to meditate on God’s Word and reflect on our own thoughts can help us “take our thoughts captive” and turn them to be more like Christ.

Lord, help me be more aware of the path my thoughts take throughout the day. By your Spirit, will you help me take any thought captive that does not please you and turn it around? Amen.

By Debbie West
Used by Permission  https://thelife.com/devotionals

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The Hidden Causes of Anxiety

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Read: Psalm 94:19-22

Experiences affect how people think about themselves and what they choose to believe. Sometimes negative events create a hurtful thought pattern that can play in someone’s brain in a continuous loop. When that gets switched on, it triggers anxiety in the person’s heart. Shutting it off permanently requires faith in the Lord.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Suppose that little Tina’s efforts to do well were often rejected by her parents. She heard, “You can do better than that” or “Your sister did much better at your age.” Tina rarely received praise for a job well done. Now an adult, she refuses to apply for a job promotion, even though her boss is encouraging her to do so. Why? Because she fears being found inadequate. Tina may not be able to name her fear, but it certainly holds her back. There are several other potential root causes of anxiety. An exhaustive list would not fit here, but a few of the more common ones are …

  • The belief that one can’t reach a set standard.
  • Guilt over past sin.
  • A faulty idea of God as a punisher.
  • Attitudes instilled during childhood.

When feeling anxious, ask yourself what produced the uneasiness. Knowing which incidents nurture fear can point you to the underlying cause. Let God help you reject the unhealthy thought pattern and replace it with assurance that those who listen to Him live free from the dread of evil (Prov. 1:33).

By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by Permission http://www.intouch.org/

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Choices

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Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”  Jeremiah 6:16

Taking our little daughter to the ice cream store for a treat was always a challenge. She never could decide which flavor she liked and ask for a sample spoon of each. Once she had sampled all, she would say that she had eaten all the ice cream she wanted.

Life is full of choices especially in this fast paced world where we are all stressed up and don’t know which way to go. There are choices, often conflicting. In this life, we have to make many choices. Some are very important choices. Some are not. Many of our choices are between good and evil. The choices we make, however, determine to a large extent our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences of our choices.
The best way to make choices is to not make significant ones alone.

“For by wise guidance you will wage war, And in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 24:6)

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14)

But there is even a better way.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Be anxious for nothing stands in contrast to worrying which reveal a lack of trust in God’s sovereignty and power. As believers, we need to realize that our confidence in life does not come from ourselves but from the a All Powerful God of the universe. That is why Paul tells us not to worry about anything. If we worry we are basically saying that God cannot handle it. By contrast we are to take everything to God in prayer and His peace will guard our hearts and minds. Believers, who stand firm in Christ, respond to trials and endure hardship with thankful prayer. Here are some prayers to pray for choices in our lives.

Choices allow us to love or not… help us choose love.
Choices allow us to choose right or wrong… help us choose right.
Choices allow us to choose the light or the dark…. help us choose light.
Choices allow us to choose between good and bad… help us choose good.
Choices allow to choose between good and best… help us choose best.

Choices allow us to choose You... help us draw near to YOU.

By John Grant
Used by Permission

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John Grant is a former Florida State Senator and is a practicing attorney

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Choose Carefully

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Do you ever feel like God has not lived up to your expectation in some particular circumstance of your life? Perhaps you have believed… yet nothing has happened. When you feel confused and wondering if God has let you down, you have a choice to make.

You can choose to be offended at God’s seeming silence and disinterest and allow doubt to slip into your heart… or… you can choose to believe God loves you with a lavish love and has your best interest at heart… even when things seem to make no sense to you.

Jesus addressed this very thing. In His words to John the Baptist He says what our hearts still need to hear today…

Blessed are those who don’t doubt me.” (Matthew 11:6 The Living Bible)

Times come to all of us when God’s activity in our lives seems to make no sense. We wonder at the circumstances we find ourselves in and we may sometimes even feel abandoned by God. We could easily slip into doubting our great God.

Yet God tells us…

  •     He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)
  •     He has lavished His great love on us. (1 John 3:1)
  •     He cares about the burdens we carry and invites us to cast them on Him to carry for us.
    (1 Peter 5:7)
  •     He invites us to learn His ways and find rest for our weary and burdened souls.
    (Matthew 11:2)

If your heart is heavy today because you feel confused about what God is doing in your life, know that you have a choice to make.

You can let doubt in Him slip in and permeate your soul… or you can let these truths penetrate your heart. Each will bring its own result. Choose carefully.

Jesus promises you will be blessed when you choose to keep trusting Him even when it seems to make no sense. Ask Him to help you keep your fragile faith intact and leave your hand in His. He will be true to His word and you will be blessed as you trust our faithful God.

Father God, Today I call out and ask You to increase my faith. It feels tattered and worn in the confusion of my present circumstance. Help Your truths to penetrate my heart and my mind. Help me as I choose to trust You, my faithful God. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

By Gail Rodgers
Used by Permission

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